Sen. Bo Watson slams VW over labor policies, UAW recognition

Sen. Bo Watson listens to Rep. Mike Carter during the Times Free Press sponsored Legislative Roundtable Tuesday at the newspaper.

VW is a magnet for organized labor, intentionally."

NASHVILLE -- Top Volkswagen officials came under harsh questioning Tuesday from a Chattanooga Republican lawmaker who charged that the German auto manufacturer is a "magnet for organized labor, intentionally."

During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the state Economic and Community Development's budget, which includes $165.8 million in proposed state incentives to the company, Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, repeatedly drilled David Geanacopoulos, Volkswagen America's general counsel, about its labor policies.

Watson said the incentives for Volkswagen "will give Southeast Tennessee a big foothold in the automotive industry particularly in research and development and ... development of a new line of VW vehicles" -- a planned SUV.

"However, Mr. Chairman and committee members," Watson said, "VW is a magnet for organized labor, intentionally."